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U.S. Men's A2 Team Sweeps Dominican at Pan Am Cup

June 17, 2009, 1:20 a.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 16, 2009) – The U.S. Men’s A2 National Team got off to a good start at the Pan American Cup by sweeping the Dominican Republic, 3-0 (31-29, 25-19, 25-20) on Tuesday in Chiapas, Mexico.

The U.S. Men, who are in Group A with the Dominican Republic and Canada, will play Canada on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Chiapas (4 p.m. PDT).

Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) paced the U.S. Men were on Tuesday. Holt led all scorers with 13 points on 10 kills, one block and two aces. Holt’s hitting percentage was 0.83. Robert Tarr (Cape Canaveral, Fla.) added 12 points on 10 kills and two blocks. Dean Bittner (Lakewood, Calif.) scored 10 points on eight kills, one block and one ace.

“This game is a good start for us. It is our first commitment in 2009 and we could see that the long hours of work are paying off,” said U.S. team captain Tyler Hildebrand in a NORCECA press release.

Team USA came away with seven aces while the Dominicans had one ace and 17 service errors, including three consecutive errors at set point in the opening game.

Among the other U.S. scorers, Matt McKinney (Santa Ynez, Calif.) scored nine points on seven kills and two aces. Nate Meerstein (La Porte City, Iowa) tallied eight points on three kills, four blocks and one ace. Hildebrand had three points on two kills and one block and Eric Vance (Camarillo, Calif.) scored one point on one ace.

U.S. Head Coach Rick McLaughlin started Tarr and McKinney at outside hitter, Holt and Meerstein at middle blocker, Hildebrand at setter, Bittner at opposite and Isaac Kneubuhl (Pukalani, Hawai'i) at libero.

Kneubuhl was credited with 81 percent positive receptions and 75 percent excellent.

Vance and Austin Zahn (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) played as substitutes.

In the first set, the U.S. Men led 8-6 at the first technical timeout (TTO) and increased that to 16-13 at the second. But with the United State leading 19-15, the Dominican Republic came back to score three points in a row and pull within one point.

The teams battled back and forth. Team USA reached set point first at 24-23 on a quick attack by Holt, but the Dominican came back to tie it with a kill. The U.S. Men reached set point four more times, but each time the Dominican held it off either via a U.S. error or a Dominican kill.

With the score tied 29-29, a quick attack by McKinney gave the U.S. its sixth set point and a kill by Tarr put the set away.

The U.S. Men held an 8-7 advantage at the first TTO of the second set. With the scored tied 9-9, Team USA used a Bittner kill and a Meerstein ace to go up by two points and never led by less than two points after that. An ace by McKinney scored the final point in the set.

The U.S. Men showed similar determination in the third set and led 8-5 at the first TTO, including two points from Bittner on a kill and block.

The lead expanded to 16-10 at the second TTO. With the U.S. Men leading 23-17, the Dominican scored three points in a row on U.S. errors, but a quick attack by Hold gave the United States match point and a Tarr kill ended the match.

2009 U.S. Pan American Cup Roster

No. Name (Position, Height, Weight, Hometown, College)

1 Eric Vance (OH, 6-4, 195, Camarillo, Calif., Cal State Northridge)
3 Dean Bittner (Opp, 6-7, 187, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 Matt McKinney (OH, 6-9, 225, Santa Ynez, Calif., UCLA)
5 Isaac Kneubuhl (L, 6-1, 190, Pukalani, Hawai'i, Cal State Northridge)
6 Tyler Hildebrand (S, 6-5, 196, Mesa, Ariz., Long Beach State)
7 Robert Tarr (OH, 6-6, 200, Cape Canaveral, Fla., Long Beach State)
8 Nate Meerstein (MB, 6-9, 209, La Porte City, Iowa, Penn State)
9 Nils Nielsen (OH, 6-4, 180, Fallbrook, Calif., Cal State Northridge)
10 Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, 187, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
11 Max Holt (MB, 6-9, 198, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
14 Austin Zahn (MB, 6-8, 220, Hermosa Beach, Calif., USC)
19 Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, 162, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Rick McLaughlin (UC Santa Barbara)
Team Manager: Ken Preston (UC Santa Barbara)
Assistant Coach: Scott Wong (Pepperdine)
Therapist/Trainer: Chris Birch (Penn State)
Team Doctor: Ken Schroeder

Group A Results and Schedule

June 15: Canada def. Dominican Republic, 15-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18
June 16: USA def. Dominican Repubic, 31-29, 25-19, 25-20
June 17: USA vs. Canada

Group B Results and Schedule

June 15: Puerto Rico def. Panama, 25-17, 25-14, 25-22
June 15: Mexico def. Guatemala, 25-16, 25-23, 25-17
June 16: Guatemala def. Panama, 25-22, 25-22, 25-18
June 16: Puerto Rico def. Mexico, 33-31, 25-23, 25-21
June 17: Guatemala vs. Puerto Rico
June 17: Mexico vs. Panama